Family law comprises many areas of legal practice pertaining to marriage and divorce, child custody, paternity and support, adoption, children’s rights and elder care. Generally, it is divided into two areas – family related concerns and domestic relationships. Within these broad categories are other legal considerations such as juvenile law and crimes against minors. Paternity cases can also be handled by a family lawyer as can cases involving visitation rights. A family lawyer can also assist in dealing with Child Services and public assistance.
You will want to seek out the help and counsel of a family lawyer if you want to draft a prenuptial agreement, annul a marriage or file for divorce. Property settlements are usually negotiated by an attorney on your behalf as are alimony payments.
When children are involved in a divorce, custody and child support payments are negotiated by the attorneys representing both sides. Having an experienced advocate for you and your family on your side is always important, but especially so if you face an abduction of one of your children by your spouse or if your former spouse abuses his or her visitation rights.
If you are contemplating a civil union or domestic partnership, a family lawyer can be invaluable in navigating the special circumstances involved in non-traditional marriages. Similarly, if you are considering dissolving a domestic partnership, you will want to consult with a lawyer to understand and protect your rights.
The special circumstances associated with adoption, surrogacy and assisted reproduction require the specialized legal knowledge of a family attorney. Protecting your rights and those of the child you are adopting can be a lengthy legal process. Similarly, biological parents may want to preserve their rights after adoption and should retain experienced counsel as well.
The law protects children and minors and their rights. In cases where child abuse or neglect are alleged, a family attorney may be needed in order to protect the child. Children that are accused of crimes may require the services of family lawyers that are experienced adjudicating cases involving crimes by minors.
A growing area of family law is elder law which seeks to protect the rights and care of aging U.S. citizens. Elder abuse, elder care, fraud and end-of-life issues are the primary concerns of an elder care law attorney.
Your attorney will be able to explain to you the legal issues that you need to understand about your case. He or she will act in your best interests and on your behalf to reach a satisfactory conclusion that protects the legal rights of you and your family.
Family Law Intro Video
More information on family law can be found here.